Hi Vanessa. Newly single home-schooling/farming/sustainable building/artist mom here. Currently I'm saving enough to build a mobile tiny home and relocate from the Eastern Wa area to the SW. My partner of 18 years and I will be going our separate ways after completing an eco-hobbit home, organic farm and running a small forest art business. I also work as a children's art teacher (home-schooled and special needs) and a wood carver. Before the career transition, I worked as an architect in Upstate New York and my in home town of Atlanta, Ga with an emphasis on sustainable building. Growing up, my parents raised us off-grid and grew their own food. For me, living and raising my family any other way isn't an option.
My finances are an issue at the moment due to my volunteering and constantly donating with the non-profits I've been involved with for the past four years. By late spring my ability to head out in search of rebuilding a life will be more of a possibility. If you are still looking for someone to join in your efforts toward this lifestyle, pm me and we can talk further.
Thanks Mike! I am glad to hear the house is looking bigger than it is. There were a few things about the design that gave an illusion of more space and helped with the flow of traffic. The first was positioning the octagonal bump outs at the corners of the main room. Both areas lead to small sleeping areas and were too narrow to access without the bump outs. The second was to add a 34" tall by 12' wide cold frame with insulated windows to the area behind the kitchen. The house is dug 6' into the hill and I pitched the roof out 7' for water run off. Midway of closing it in, I decided that the main room looked too small and dark so using the space to start seeds and keep plants in the winter seemed like it would be useful and also bring more light in.
The rooms measure: Main (kitchen, eating area) is 10 X 12, counter top bump out with stools is 4 X 10, main bed space is 7 X 7, boys bunk room is 7 X 7, daughter's room is 4 X 7, step down 'inglenook' area is 6 X 10 and bathroom is 5 X 6. There is a third bunk under the watershed roof for my youngest son that is only 34" tall (and I didn't count). It is an extension of the cold frame behind the kitchen. Currently, we are moving the boys to their own area OUTSIDE the main house and putting my daughter into their bunk room. I'm having to modify the mattresses a bit. Her room was designed to be my future closet and possibly a small washer/dryer combo.
Sure! I will send more pics including one of the back roof where the watershed comes down (now covered in moss). It is the area beside the cold frame and over my son's bunk area. Covering the roof in moss is proving to be a challenge though.
Thank you for the tips on the greenhouse Deb. We are saving for the UV resistant panels and will add cloth for the intense sun. I like your idea for weighting down the plastic with blocks. Right now we can only afford the plastic we are using for lids on cold frames to cover things that don't like the cold nights (it can be 100 during the day and 40s at night). I've accumulated piles of rocks that could be used for the same purpose.
A neighbor is clearing out a section of his lot and offered us the saplings and cedars. They would work great for a windbreak. Appreciate the advice!
Being a frequent visitor to the site, I wanted to get my project to an 'almost finished' stage before posting. Leading up to this project, my partner and I had spent seven years remodeling an 1870 home in Upstate, NY and ran into financial trouble. We decided to sell for a small profit (under 50k) and buy a 130 sq ft older travel trailer and relocate with our four kids to the Eastern Washington mountains. We had very little options for land and winter was approaching fast so we made a desperate move to purchase a ten acre lot that had been logged and appeared to have the right requirements for our plans.
The winters were brutal reaching temps to -20 for weeks. We were driving a half hour to a spring and filling up jugs of water to bring back and use for bathing and cooking. The tanks had frozen even with insulation and heat tape. Needless to say, the six of us, three dogs and two cats were quite uncomfortable squeezed into the small space and had a lot of issues with condensation. The first spring came along and we were getting tight on savings and decided a well was badly needed. Using dowsing rods, I found a spot that ended up giving us a high static level so we could use a hand pump. Shortly after the well was in, wind storms took out several of the few large trees we had left and narrowly missed the trailer.
It was at that point I made an emotional decision to throw out the plans I had spent drawing for years and grabbed a shovel to build an underground hobbit style home using some cedar that the logging company left behind. I gave each family member (including my then 3 year old) a shovel and we spent months digging out the area for the home. Using a draw knife, we peeled fir and cedar for the log framing and I used a chainsaw to notch and fit the ends. We slowly worked/saved and bought the shell material and roofing which consisted of my earthy blend of concrete and lime, rigid insulation, epdm, roof sheathing, some craigslist and some custom cut glass. We were able to get free scrap wood from a nearby lumberyard for decorative projects (ceiling, cabinets, etc).
After three years, we have the 385 sq ft home almost finished. In addition to our project, we have a small farm, pole barn style greenhouse that will not stay sheathed due to wind, a log pavilion to make use of left over logging debris and a small tool shed/workshop that we are adding a room on to for our older sons. Hopefully we will be able to earn enough to get the projects completed by spring.